2020 has been difficult, not least for the safari industry. We need to get back up and running again, especially in light of the recent positive vaccination news. Its time to look forward, to join those who are ahead of the game, to explore those “newly wild again” places. Company owners and guides have spent months in the wild experiencing the best wilderness environment ever. Now, travellers are starting to trickle back and as they do, more safari operators dust off their equipment and send their crews back to work. They could really use your help as early guests. You will be rewarded and treated as long-lost family (minus the hugs, handshakes and all that of course) and a superb safari experience.
Up to about March 2020, the number of travellers and safari operators steadily increased from year to year, with some destinations starting to feel “busy”. Now you can avoid that busy feeling at most popular locations. That said, we could always find remote and pristine wilderness for those not focused on “famous” locations. The difference now, is that you get that remote feeling at well known safari destinations. It won’t last – take advantage before its too late!
Discounts and offers
Are there discounts to be had? Yes and no. Many places offer low-season rates in the high-season. There are special deals for medical employees and their families. There are many local resident deals. Almost every property offers 2021 trips at 2020 prices. Does it make a big difference to the overall cost ? Not really, but there are deals out there. Why aren’t there more offers? I believe its because African operators have not received any bailouts or financial support and after almost a year of no income, they just cannot afford to sponsor your trip. Instead, what they need, are new bookings to refill their almost empty bank accounts. That will allow them to keep local villagers from going back to poaching to feed their families, to protect areas that receive very little financial support and it keeps them in business which we all need.
Why book now?
A lot of safaris booked for 2020 have been rolled over to 2021, or even 2022. That means, there is less available space than might be expected, especially at the best times. Its never too early to plan and find space. Flights are cheap now – book them before they increase. Booking terms have been relaxed – you can can now pay last minute or cancel without penalties up to soon before your trip begins. Flights can be changed without change fees. You should grab the few offers available before someone else does. And you should visit areas while there are still very few visitors. On safari, you can “social distance” without even trying. I cannot think of better places to be right now than in a tent in the wilderness. While traveler numbers are low, you often get your own safari vehicle to avoid sharing. And many other great reasons!
On my radar this past week
- North Luangwa, Kafue and Lower Zambezi in Zambia, for a down to earth, remote, wildlife packed genuine adventure.
- Sossusvlei, Damaraland and the Skeleton Coast in Namibia for stunning scenery and wildlife
- Malawi’s Kaya Mawa on Likoma Island and remote Nkwichi Lodge in Mozambique for wild, remote fresh water lakes
- Masai Mara and Amboseli with a detour to Tsavo or across the border to Tanzania’s Sinya for big tuskers
- Tanzania’s Ruaha, Selous and remote Mahale Mountains for classic safari and mingling with chimps
- Fishing on Cameroon’s Faro River
- Benguerra Island, Cape Town and Kruger Park
Where to begin – so many fantastic destinations!